Thursday, April 30, 2015


“So many people wish, too late, that they had saved the stories of their late parents and grandparents. I want to help prevent that situation for others,” says Nashville personal historian Deborah WilbrinkThe journalist and former English teacher has assisted over a dozen seniors in writing and publishing their memoirs. She’s now writing a book about saving one’s life story or family history, with chapters about the people she wrote with and songs she penned about family histories, magic moments in life and mementos that generate memories. Quilters from East Tennessee’s Rose Center Quilt Guild are providing some of the illustrations. Wilbrink is also writing songs!  

Her book and accompanying CD are titled Time To Tell: Your Personal & Family History. Wilbrink is serving tips to start writing one’s life story and importantly, motivating the readers with stories from seniors who have authored their own personal histories. The songs will trigger those ‘Oh, I remember!’ and ‘I should do that!’ reactions. Whether you just want to enjoy the music, read the stories, or… start writing or recording your own, that’s for you to decide!  

Using treasured mementos from the past to inspire a story is one tip Wilbrink writes about. A year ago she volunteered to lead Show and Tell events with seniors. She heard about earthquakes, emigration, equators, equal rights. Other stories surfacing featured a vaudeville act, a typesetter, even a kidnapping in a cotton field. Some of those stories are in Time to Tell and the song “Yesterday’s Trash, Today’s Treasure.”  

 She wants to have the book and CD out in time for Mother’s Day.  For more about Deborah see  Follow the project at